// Presented as part of January's New Latin American Cinema Series //
Kleber Mendonça Filho / 2016, Cannes Film Festival, Belfast, BFI London, Bratislava, Busan, Cartagena, Dublin, FNC - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Gijón, Havana, Helsinki, Hong Kong, !f Istanbul, Jerusalem, Karlovy Vary, Mar del Plata, Melbourne, Mill Valley, Munich, New York Film Festival, NYC Critics' Pick, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Sarajevo, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto International Film Festival, Tromsø, Valladolid, Vancouver, Vienna, Zurich / 146'
Clara lives in a low-rise apartment building close to the beach in Recife, a small city in the northeast Brazil. A former music critic, avid swimmer, grandmother, cancer survivor, and widow, the serenity of Clara's well-established life is threatened by the arrival of ruthless property developers, who are intent on tearing down her home of several decades to make way for a modern, luxury apartment building. While most of her neighbors cave first to the builders' bribes, then increasingly hostile tactics, Clara firmly refuses—she values independence above all else, including in her blossoming sex life, which she pursues without fear or favor.
Anchored in a luminous performance by Sônia Braga, Aquarius doubles as a portrait of a complex middle-aged heroine, and the contradictions of a capitalist impetus to progress threatening to tear modern-day Brazil asunder. Kleber Mendonça Filho's second film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; Mar del Plata, where it won Best Actress and Best Film; Sydney, Cartagena, Havana, and Dublin, where it won Best Film; and Palm Springs Film Festival, where it won the Directors to Watch competition. Aquarius is a New York Times Critics' Pick.